Online forums have their own personalities and while they are considered the distant relative to the social networking sites that we use today, many people look to forums to find answers, get opinions on products as well as gain insights about any topic you can think of.
I sometimes think that like the many blogs people create and then left to stagnate, the same holds true for many of the forums, which is a shame, because there are many good and vibrant forums in existence that are active and great places to be. Obviously others agree with my thinking as some people feel that there are about 300 million active users, going to forums and creating content every single day!
Just as there is etiquette when using social networks, online forums also have their own etiquette that is worth noting if you want to get a best out of your time and have a pleasant experience.
Keep in mind that online forums are a hybrid of entertainment, education and communication and the people who are on these forums are men and women who are there for a reason.
1. Once you have registered to a forum, take the time to look around and see what is being offered ( not all forums are created equally).
2. I know this sounds obvious, but you would be surprised by how many people do not fill in a profile including adding an image. I can’t answer why people don’t, but I can tell you that these people are missing out in more ways than you can imagine!
3. Online forums are made of people..seriously! make sure you are connecting to build a relationship and not just to be a number hog ( my way of saying people who want a high number count to make them look good or to treat people like a sell list)
4. Do you remember the golden rule “Treat others as you want to be treated”? Many people forget that rule and tend to say things that maybe should never have been said and act in ways shows lack of composure. Think before you speak and consider this, if you were trying to build credibility.. then it can be gone in an instant with that kind of behavior.
5. Do you value your privacy? We all do by the way, but for some reason people feel it is O.K to post private or identifiable information. Personally I care about you..please don’t do that!
6. Are you a hijacker? Have you ever been on a forum, having a great “conversation” and wham..someone in their infinite wisdom decides to pitch a product or talk about something totally different..well I don’t know where you were taught your manners, but hijacking a topic thread is just rude and you wont get any kudos by me or from anyone else by the way. If you want to start a new topic, then create your own!
7. Do not mislead people! I have to admit this is one thing that drives me crazy! I have seen forums topics where the titles have you thinking one thing and when you go to them, they are nothing but an advertisement and to add insult to injury I have had people private message me about a topic just to find out that it was a..yep an advertisement and I go GRRRR!
8. Don’t forget that the reason you joined a forum was to contribute! Become a person of value and ask questions, offer your opinion and reply to questions that are asked. The reality is that the more involved you become, the more known you become and when you are marketing then more opportunities will open to you.
I know there are other online forum etiquette tips such as do not shout ( using only capital letters) and don’t post content that violates copyrights..but these are the main tips I can give to help you with online forums.
While some would argue that online forums are an endangered species, I think that if you give them a fair chance, you will find them to be a fantastic place. They are like being in a different world, and maybe that is needed these days..a place where you can talk..educate and share without the incessant noise of the superhighway like one can see on those bigger networks.
P.S. You know I just had to put this in here lol, Adlandpro is built on forum technology and rather than stagnating, it has been evolving and changing over time – won’t you come and join us?